Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Pie Challenge

Hello again! It's me - your favorite uber sporadic blogger.

If you follow me on TwitterFaceGram you've probably noticed that I've been fairly pie obsessed so far this year. That's because for Christmas I was gifted with a pie cookbook, so it is now a goal of mine to bake each recipe before the end of the year.
I know, I know. It sounds so cliche and like I just wanted to be like that Julie chick from Julie and Julia.
Well, I just like pie. So, that's why I'm doing it.

I have a few pies that I'll need to play catch-up on, so I will start with the most recent pie I baked: 
Sliced Sweet Potato and Apple Crumble Pie

OK, side note. This whole blogging thing is a little cray to me, so just bear with me as I pretend to be a food blogger this year. Sound cool? 

This pie was the 5th I have made from the pie book, and it was also the most involved of all of the pies.  There was a lot of slicing, stirring, simmering, etc... I'm pretty sure I used 3/4 of all of my pans and bowls. Oh, well. It was worth it.

This little fella moved up to the 2nd favorite pie I've made this year (topped only by Maple Lime - coming soon to a blog near you!). My trusted taste testers (parents, co-workers, and friends) agreed.

OK, here's where it's going to get weird. Do I just write out all of the instructions? I mean, they're in the book. I don't want to plagiarize, or anything. Alright guys. Here it goes.

Pre-step: Make the crust. 
Mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter. Botta-bing. You've got yourself some pie dough. This just called for a single recipe, so I just rolled the dough into one blob, wrapped it in some plastic and stuck it in the fridge for about an hour. More on this later. Excitement!

Now for the pie - Peel 2 medium sweet potatoes. (It calls for about 2 cups sliced. I had a little more than 2 cups, and it seemed to work out OK). Once they've been peeled and sliced, pop them in a pan of water and bring them to a boil. Simmer those bad boys until they're tender when you test them with a knife. They won't be fully cooked otherwise they'll get mushy. Once they've reached the right softness, cool them off with cold water then let them sit and cool down. 
(Side note: I literally told them to "sit and think about what you've done." This has nothing to do with anything except to prove that I'm insane)

OK, I'm going to jump around a bit, because while the sweet potatoes were boiling/simmering I was rolling out my crust, and such. I'm not sure how to describe rolling out dough. I kind of feel like I could do an entire post on just pie dough. I love it so very much.
Anyhow, roll the dough out, fold the rolled out dough in half (gently!) and then transfer it to be on top of the pie plate. Center it. Admire it. It demands your admiration. Once you've fully appreciated what an awesome job you've done on the dough, stick that sucker in the fridge. It also needs to think about what it's done. (Not really. Pie dough is perfect)

Now for the (to me) trickiest part of the pie: the caramel sauce.
Yes. It was delicious, but I always stress when caramel sauce is on the line. (I keep shouting in my head DON'T BURN IT).
So, you get a saucepan and put some water and sugar in it. Whisk those items together over a low-medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter and bring the mixture to a low boil. You'll keep stirring your heart out until the mixture turns golden-ish brown. It's pretty. (Since I was stressed about this step, I was a blogger fool and did not snap a pic of what the mixture looked like when it had reached the golden-ish brown stage). Once it has reached that color you'll slowly add the cream. Then you'll let the sauce be patient and wait for its turn. All in good time, my good caramel sauce.

Remember those apples you bought? Peel and slice them. I used granny smith apples because apparently there was a rush on baking apples at the store I visited to purchase apples. I was planning to get golden delicious, but whatevs. Granny won. I can think of worse things in life. Like when you really want to hear a Radiohead song and The Strokes come on instead. Back to the apples - you'll need about 2 cups of them all said and done. Are they sliced? Cool. Now juice some lemons (I used 2) and make sure you get the seeds out of the juice. Toss the apple slices in the lemon juice. Now the apples get to wait.

OK, so your sweet potatoes are in timeout, your pie dough is chillin' in the fridge, and your caramel sauce is cooling on the counter.

Back to the pie - Your sweet potatoes have probably been in timeout long enough, so go ahead and start slicing them up. Get them thin. Like 1/8 of an inch thin. Then put the sliced sweet potatoes and the sliced apples (after they've been taken out of the lemon juice) together in a bowl. Sprinkle the brown sugar/spice mixture over them and start mixing them all together. Then pour that caramel sauce over the mixture. Try not to eat it all straight from the bowl (but nobody would blame you if you did).

Now go ahead and make the crumble part of the pie. You're going to need it in a jiffy.

Get that pie dough out of the fridge. It's time.
Put the apple/sweet potato/caramel mixture into the pie. Cover all of that with the crumble mixture.
Then you get to crimp the edges or braid the edges or whatever!
Put the pie in the oven. Let it bake. Take it out of the oven. Let it cool.
Eat it.
Eat it all.

Then report back and tell me what you think.

2 medium sweet potatoes (for about 2 cups sliced)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 heavy cream
2 lemons
2 or 3 baking apples (for about 2 cups sliced)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (to add to the caramel sauce after it has cooled)

Crumble top!
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
(Mix all the ingredients together. Chop the cold butter into cubes (about 1 inch each) and mush it into the mixture with your hands. Fun, huh!)

The Crust! (I really want to do a separate entry on just the crust options)
Since this guy (the pie) had a crumble top, he only needed a single crust option:
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
(mix the dry ingredients)
Cut up 1 stick of cold, unsalted butter into 1 inch cubes. Cut the butter into the dry mixture. 
In a separate bowl add 1/2 cup cold water and 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Add 2 Tablespoons of the water/vinegar mixture to the butter/flour mixture. Add the water to the dough one tablespoon at a time until you've reached the right consistency. You'll just have to feel that one out. It will be sticky enough to mold together but not too wet that it will stick to everything when you roll it out. Be sure to flour the counter and such before you start rolling out the dough. 


  1. I just made this pie in my head while carefully reading your instructions. I love how you recap where we are at! It really is so helpful. I really want to make this pie. Sweet potatoes and apples together kind of mess with my brain, but I am willing to give it a shot. Could you please do a post on just pie crust? You know my issues with pie crust. I can't wait for maple lime!!

  2. I want you to make me this pie every other day and make maple lime on all the other days.